The Congress is stepping up its protests against the Centre’s move to scrap high-value notes, as the civic elections to be held next year approach.
The BJP government at the Centre announced the demonetisation of Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes on November 8, and gave the country 50 days — December 30 — to the submit old notes at banks. A day before this deadline, the state units of the Congress announced it would take its fight to the streets, while the city unit got 50 workers to tattoo their arms with a line alleging corruption by PM Narendra Modi.
The demonetisation has over the past 50 days led to a severe cash crunch in the country, leading to long queues outside ATMs and banks and protests by Opposition parties. The Centre had asked the people to bear with it, calling the move a necessary step to weed out black money. But with just weeks to go for the civic polls in Mumbai, the Congress is hitting out hard against its rival.
The state unit announced protests in all districts, while the city unit said it will gherao the suburban collector’s office on January 6. The party also announced a protest on January 8 that key leaders including state unit chief Ashok Chavan, former chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Narayan Rane and former ministers Patangrao Kadam and Balasaheb Thorat will lead in their respective districts.
“The demonetisation announced by the Modi government has resulted in endless hardships to the common people. The deadline of 50 days given by the prime minister is about to end, but there is no solution in sight. Big companies have started retrenchments, farmers are forced to throw away farm produce owing to falling prices. The government should compensate farmers,” said Chavan, adding that the Modi government was hiding information related to deposits of black money and deaths of people waiting in queues. “Major cash seizure cases were related to banks headed by BJP leaders, but no action was taken.”
The party also asked the BJP answers to the allegations levelled by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi about the alleged corruption by the PM when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
“We have been raising this question, but we have not got a clarification. We wanted to ask this question to the PM during his Mumbai visit, but we were put under house arrested,” said Sanjay Nirupam, city Congress chief.